This playlist is a little different than the first. Again, please play in order (starting with Prokofiev(!?)), I have genuine mixtape motives.
My intention with the issue one playlist was to set the scene, convey the energy, and give the characters some music that would reinforce their (and the stories) themes).
This time the songs (mostly) reflect the events of the issue, although with so many new characters, there are some tracks that are statements about who they are. This list is shorter than issue 1’s list, but still longer than I intended – there’s too much great music to share!
Bowie & Prokofiev / The Story Begins
I thought it would be fun to lighten things up from the dark ending of the first issue. This does it. Disclaimer: this song use is totally sarcastic. In a filmed version of this issue, there’d probably be a needle rip somewhere…
Arthur Conley / Sweet Soul Music
GFH is all about the love of music. But appreciation of any kind of art is subjective, right? So we have to respect opinions because there’s no such thing as a wrong opinion. Still, I wanted to try to find a song that it’s pretty impossible to dislike, and it’s about music too! I respect your opinion, but if you don’t like this song, you’re wrong and I have no respect for you.
Ratmaster 2000 & Screaming Yuppie Asshole / Sound Effects
I’m just getting used to dicking around with Spotify because I am morally opposed to the company*. Discovering these sound effects was fun, although their names don’t accurately reflect their relationship to the story. So I rename them above.
* I totally get what everyone likes about Spotify, and certainly couldn’t legally afford to do this playlist under and other circumstance, so full acknowledgment I’m being a massive whore here.
LL Cool J / Go Cut Creator Go
This is just pure NYC, vital early East Coast hip-hop. In the gorgeous, must-read new Beastie Boys book, they talk about running around lower Manhattan in the mid-80s, hearing different kinds of music blasting from everywhere, then taking those sounds and mixing them together into something no one had ever heard before. This track speaks to that time of experimentation.
Anti-Nowhere League / I Hate….People
Melch is (loosely) based on a real friend of mine. This is a great song to introduce him with. We were big fans of ANL when their first singles were coming out. Wildly catchy, insanely offensive, all attitude and snarling guitars. The lyrics speak to Melch and Martin’s relationship in that they both find most people a waste of time. Although ANL never did anything that matched those early records, Metallica covered one of their songs and made them famous and (probably/hopefully) rich, so we weren’t wrong.
Ozzy / Crazy Train
Musically, I could take or leave Ozzy aside from a few tracks (this is one, and Sabbath), but I love him as a character, and who wouldn’t? Which makes this another great Melch song inasmuch as embarking on a night out with the man was always an adventure, one that could result in near-death AND tremendous, stupid fun.
Boomtown Rats / Rat Trap
Early Boomtown Rats (featuring singer Bob Geldof, pre-Live Aid) were an Irish take on Springsteen circa Born To Run. This track is a standout from that era. The lyrics speak to Billy’s situation (the protagonist in the song is named Billy, FFS) once he’s signed his deal. The Rats second and third albums are underrated New Wave classics.
T. Rex / Metal Guru
What better song to introduce Brian Slade!? Bolan was amazing and helped create the 70s UK glam scene that gave us Bowie, Sweet and lots of great singles. If you live in the UK, you already know this – he remains adored there, mostly forgotten in the US. Tragedy. Go hear The Sliderif you haven’t.
Ex Hex / Radio On
One of my favorite new bands, this speaks to the joy of hearing cool songs on the radio, and a little bit to Nick’s dilemma getting songs on the radio. Featuring Mary Timony of Helium, a band I need to go back and hear more of.
The Clash / Death Or Glory
I always love the Mick Jones ones best. This is pretty much the musical version of Cook and Martin’s contentious meeting.
Perfect / Better Days
This is all the positive optimism of being a new band with a wide-open future. Perfect was Tommy Stinson’s post-post-Replacements band (the excellent Bash N Pop was first). The album this is from, Once, Twice, Three Times A Maybe,was recorded in the 90s but not released until the 00s due to music business bullshit. So much for optimism.
Tara Angell / Hollow Hope
There’s something Stones-y yet haunting going on here that’s juts magic. It’s hopeful yet doomed at the same time. Full disclosure; I signed Tara back in the mid 00s, Her album Come Downis an underappreciated masterpiece. Check her out, one day she’s going be rediscovered like Big Star and Nick Drake were and you wanna be able to say, “Tara Angell? I was into her years ago.”
The Wildhearts / I Wanna Go Where The People Go
“I wanna be where the c*nts like me are six feet underground.” All the fun of getting ready to go see a rocking band, the possibility of a great night with great people. Super great big pop-noise from one of the most reliably great bands of the last twenty years.
Janet Jackson / Black Cat
Here comes Folani, with all the strut and attitude of this great Miss Janet track from Rhythm Nation 1814. The track was produed by Jellybean Johnson, the drummer from The Time, who I’m pretty sure also wrote the track (without credit) and played the guitar on it. That’s trivia, but pretty amazing trivia.
Janelle Monae / We Were Rock N Roll
I love, love, love Janelle Monae. She should play Folani in the GFH movie. And just be everywhere all the time, being awesome.
The Professionals / Join The Professionals
Steve Jones is this playlist’s Tony James in that he recurs here like Tony did in the first issue playlist. Steve is best-known for being the Sex Pistol’s guitarist and composer of much of their music. His guitar sound is a wonder (and no one knows how he gets it, still!). This song is from his post-Pistols band with Pistols drummer Paul Cook. Its lyrical content about the mercenary / military life is applicable to Goldstone’s relationship with Martin, who might’ve been listening to it on a shitty Walkman by the river Shitter while DC was trying to decide which side we were on.
Dwarves / How It’s Done
Mission Statement of a band about to destroy an audience. God bless the Dwarves.
Tsar / The Teen Wizards
The second appearance of Tsar on a GFH playlist, although this song is less about the disillusionment last issue’s song conveyed, and more about the optimism of a young band planning to take over the world. I wish Tsar had taken over the world. I hold them in high regard, in case you hadn’t realized.
Sweet / Ballroom Blitz
Yeah, this is their best-known song, but like Marc Bolan, they were huge in the UK with loads of great hit singles. I fell back on this one because it 100% encapsulates a rock n roll gig I don’t want to miss.
SR-71 / Politically Correct
Corking track from this hit and miss 90s act. Also, you know.
Veruca Salt / Seether
Veruca & Liz Phair pretty much summed up the vibe of many of my female peers in the late 80s / early 90s. It was their first recording, originally released on a tiny Chicago label, became a huge regional radio smash and led to a bidding war that ended with the band signing with one of the biggest, most powerful labels of the 90s. Sound familiar? “Seether” is something Diane would be listening to all the time.
Neurotic Outsiders / Good News
Steve Jones again. This time, he’s with his short-lived LA supergroup with Duff McKagan from Guns N Roses, Duran Duran’s John Taylor and Matt Sorum (also GnR). Viscerally nails real human feelings about your enemies and co-existence with malice.
Head Over Heels / The Yo-Yo’s
Everyone is infatuated with everyone, possibly with bad intent or blinders on. These guys are ex-Wildhearts. (PS: how weird is it that both the Go-Gos and the Yo-Yos have songs called “Head Over Heels”?)
David Bowie / Watch That Man
Yeah, pay attention to motive, dude. He's only taking care of the room.
Alejandro Escovedo / Always A Friend
Escovedo is particularly great when writing about friendships; this is one of his best on the subject. Be cool, take care of people, be excellent to each other.
Rolling Stones / Shattered
Some Girls is the maybe best album to listen to while walking around NYC (fight me) and this is the most NYC track on it. Recorded in France, go figure. It reminds me of CBGBs and dirty Manhattan.
Simon & Garfunkle / The Only Living Boy In New York
Melancholy genius. You can be alone in New York City. Think about that.